Training dogs and cats to leave chickens alone

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by Annichka, Jul 11, 2008.

  1. Annichka

    Annichka In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2008
    I'll start by saying that our dog and our two cats are actually very responsive to training. One cat is older and just likes to sit and watch the chickens - he's a champion birder when it comes to wild small birds but the chickens will soon be bigger than he is, and I doubt he'll try anything with them. I think he's prudent when it comes to his prey. He won't even attack our rabbit, because though she is a dwarf, she kicks him hard enough. It's the other cat, who has already scratched one of them, that I worry about. As long as he sees me around he won't try anything, because I already scared the crap out of him once by running and screaming at him. It made an impression. Anyway, our coop is strong enough to keep him out so long as it's closed properly.

    It's the dog I'm really worried about. He weighs 100 lbs (a Bernese-Shepherd cross), and could charge right into the coop if he had sufficient determination. He probably won't be motivated enough, because he's shy of loud noises (abused as a puppy), but he has taken a bit too much interest in the coop so far. He's a funny dog. As long as things don't run he won't chase them, which the cats have figured out, but when he does get the cats he likes to sit and chew on them and drool all over them. But I digress. I'm wondering what you all might have found useful in deterring your pet dogs from being too interested in your chickens.
  2. Javamama

    Javamama Songster

    Jun 6, 2008
    Electric shock therapy. Either by wires or collar with a remote. I don't think your chickens will learn not to run in front of the dog. [​IMG]
  3. horsejody

    horsejody Squeaky Wheel

    Feb 11, 2008
    Waterloo, Nebraska
    My dog is small. He is a Lhasa Apso. They were originally bred as small guard dogs, so he has a "guardian mentality." Hatching and raising chicks in the house taught him they were part of his territory and under his "protectorship." He doesn't bother the birds. He wouldn't be much of a deterrent to predators because of his small size, but I am certain that he thinks he is. However, I would never trust him or any other dog unsupervised.
  4. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Songster

    May 23, 2008
    i'd say electric shock deterrent is probably not the best bet for a formerly abused dog. that's certainly something that people need to resolve upon individually, though. all dogs are different.

    this is my experience: i have a rescue lab i got when she was two, just loaded with bad habits and atrocious manners. her very first lesson (after leash training) was not to chase the cats, which she thought was the most fun thing ever, but the cats disagreed. she didn't intend to hurt them, but OH! what fun to make them run! with my dog, it was a question of firm, 100% observation and training done from the leash until she was completely schooled (this assumes that the dog is trained properly on the leash and knows that when the leash tugs the collar, s/he must stop).

    a lunge at the cat would earn her a "no" or even a "bad dog!" if you think your dog can handle it, a firm but gentle grasp of the scruff and businesslike shake might be warranted, too. sitting and whining or patting her front feet would get a less grumpy "no". sitting quietly would earn her lots of praise and petting and fussing.

    i tweaked the training over the first few days so that the command "cat" meant "stop chasing that thing immediately". six years later and with very little brush-up work, saying "cat" in a certain tone of voice can get her to stop dead, even when a bunny or squirrel is involved (!).

    dogs are dogs, they still chase things that move, more with some breeds and less with others. you know your dog best and what techniques are most likely to work. a dog that is extremely keen to please or exceptionally obedient is going to be easier. patience and understanding of how a dog's mind works is key and resolving yourself to the idea that you might not be able to ever 100% trust your dog with the chickens is wise, i think.
  5. jenjen

    jenjen In the Brooder

    Jun 18, 2008
    Oregon House, Ca.
    I had my chicks for 2 weeks. My dog would sit and watch them for hours. The first time I left the house she killed everyone of them. We are getting ready to let them out of the coop into the outside run this weekend. we are gonna make sure she's there waiting with her shock collar on. If she's chasing something, SHE WILL NOT STOP. I don't know what else to do but shock her. I think she will always try to kill the chickens if she knows I'm gone. Good luck
  6. Annichka

    Annichka In the Brooder

    Jun 27, 2008
    Thanks to all, and especially to Ravenfeathers. Your experience is paticularly relevant and I'm grateful you shared it. Augie is really eager to please, and very sensitive - it's almost like he gets his feelings hurt if you yell at him (not sulky at all, just sad). So I don't think it will take much. He snapped at the chicks the other day and it earned him a severe scolding and banishment to the backyard, which is a very rare occurrence for him. I just sometimes wonder if the prey drive is so strong, dogs can't really overcome it. But of course, they are driven to other things humans find intolerable, and learn to overcome them.
  7. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Songster

    May 23, 2008
    Quote:you're welcome, and good luck with augie. my willow is the same, a scolding can make the sad face go on instantaneously and it doesn't come off again until she hears some "good dog" talk and has her rump scratched.

    i never did cure all of her bad habits and have accepted some of them as part of the package, stuff you get when you have a socially damaged dog. having her suddenly jump up on my lap for a snuggle (75 lbs. of hog-footed dog fat) i can live with in the long run, chasing pets and livestock i can't!
  8. rooster0209

    rooster0209 Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    North Dakota
    i borrowed a friends shock collar for my labx. It only took one afternoon and two shocks when he was chasing the guineas. Never bothered them again.

    I am going to use the same method when I let the chickens out. He is now scared of the warning beep tone. I will use that first and see how well he responds.
  9. chickenzoo

    chickenzoo Emu Hugger

    Someone needs to invent a device, like a legband, that you can put on your chickens leg that sends signals to a dog shock collar, that will beep then shock the dog if they get within so many feet of the chickens. That way they learn it is the chicken doing the shocking, Ha Ha. If any one reads this and developes this to sell, I want my 50%. LOL [​IMG]
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  10. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Songster

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    Quote:One thing for sure , Dogs and cats with or around chickens DO NOT MIX WELL .

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